By Tony Nobbs: Anthony Mundine retained his WBA super middleweight strap by decisioning number 15 contender and fellow Sydney fighter Nader Hamden at the Cities Entertainment Center tonight (Wednesday Feb 27). After an exciting and grueling twelve rounds that were fought sportingly, Mundine was awarded the “W” by margins of twelve, ten and six points.
Mundine's brilliance was matched by Hamden's ruggedness. There were some terrific exchanges which had the crowd on their feet at the end. The opening rounds were closely fought with Mundine just doing enough to stay ahead through out. By the middle rounds Mundine had extended his lead where Hamden needed at least a knockdown to get back in to it. There were times when Mundine's fast hands flew in rhythm and he looked on the verge of a stoppage as he trapped Nader along the ropes. However Nader's resolve would not allow him to be over whelmed and he fought back, on occasion even backing Anthony up. The tenth round was a good one for Nader and he was encouraged by trainer Billy Hussein in the corner before the eleventh.
Hamden came in with a top preparation and pushed the champion all the way. Mundine could not relax or show boat as any time he stopped punching Hamden was in his face attacking. He grazed Mundine on numerous occasions with right hands but could not land that fight turning punch.
Over the course of his almost eight year career Anthony has shown continuous improvement and he is now at the point where he is Australia's best fighter, regardless of poundage, just as his father and trainer Tony was during the 1970's. For this fight he weighed two and a quarter pounds under the super middleweight limit and he said in an interview in his dressing room pre fight that he had been as low as 73.5 kg (162 lb) in the lead up.
If he could shed that extra two pounds and keep his strength it would not be a surprise to see him dethrone Kelly Pavlik, a thought echoed by former IBF 130 pound champ Barry Michael. He certainly looks close to becoming a complete fighter.
In the main support Solomon Haumono notched his most impressive victory to date by stopping American Tommy Connelly in three rounds. Sol did just what a 14-0, 14 knockout heavyweight should and he looks every bit a future contender.